Oatmeal Festival began in 1978 as a spoof of the many chili cook-offs in the state of Texas. Every small town has their own festival to get "city folks" to come out and spend a few bucks and everybody have a good time. We had the rural community of Oatmeal as our neighbor and it was simply too good an idea to overlook. Ken Odiorne, who had lived in the Oatmeal community (in an area he knew as Ignert Ridge), dreamed it all up and with a little prodding from some good folks got it all going. He wrote to all the major producers of oatmeal (the cereal, that is) and asked them for some assistance. Only National Oats, the makers of 3 Minutes Oats, responded. Everything began at that time.
Chili cooks eat hot peppers. Oatmeal cooks ate boiled okra. Chili cooks had beauty queens. Oatmeal cooks had Ms. Bag, who is over 55, Groaty Oat, who is beyond description, and Miss Cookie and Miss Muffin, who are 4 to 8 years old. Watermelon raisers spit seeds. Oatmeal cooks kicked cow chips.
The folks who put together the official map of the State of Texas had also decided to leave Oatmeal off the map because there was not an intersection of main highways there. Well, something had to be done about that. Now we had a cause.
Oatmeal is back on the map. We have a lot of folks who come home to the country every Labor Day Weekend, even if it is hot and dry. And everyone looks forward to the Oatmeal Festival. Over the years the money raised has built an open-air pavilion in Bertram and a community center at Oatmeal. Scholarships are given to local high school graduates every year. Financial assistance has been given to many local events including the Easter Egg Hunt, Santa's Workshop, and Burnet County Livestock Show.
Oatmeal Friday Night The Oatmeal Festival begins with a barbecue at the Oatmeal Community Center, about three miles southwest of Bertram. There are many things of historical interest in the Oatmeal Community, including one of the oldest buildings in the county, an old rock church. It sits on the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful countryside. Just below the church is an old brush arbor where the church used to meet when the weather was too hot to be comfortable in the building.
Saturday Parade The Oatmeal Festival continues on Saturday morning with a 3K run at 8:03, a Pet Parade at 10:03, and the Festival Parade at 10:33. There are floats from nearby cities, businesses, the Shriners, and political candidates, especially in an election year.
Saturday Noon & After The fun continues after the parade with a barbecue at the Bertram Pavilion. Volunteers serve a generous portion of brisket or chicken, or a combination of both. There are pinto beans, potato salad, cole slaw, onions, bread, and iced tea -- a typical Texas feast. There are many deserts if you still have room.
After a hearty meal, enjoy the fun and games in the surrounding area. Just across the street from the pavilion you'll find the concession stands and the 4H Club Roping Arena. The Directors Booth can help you find all the activities. Some of the games are on the school grounds, a block to the south. That's also where you'll find the Bertram School Homecoming at 1:03. So, come to Bertram on the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day, and have a wonderful time.